I am desperate to swap my council house for a bigger one but they are all small, noisy or too “municipal”
A COUNCIL house couple desperate to swap their home for a bigger one are appalled at other options for being too small, too loud or too “council owner”.
Channel 5’s new Council House Swap follows tenants as they explore each other’s homes across the country and swap theirs without spending a penny.
In tonight’s episode, Dave and Fran are at their wit’s end in their two-bedroom flat in Dorset with their two teenagers, two toddlers and a dog.
They are currently spending £400 a month on a ground floor apartment, but are looking for a bigger three bed.
Fran says: “We wanted a baby, then we had two, so we have four girls between us.
“Space is our problem and our storage.
“We are looking for a bigger property to house us all. It is becoming very urgent now.”
But hunting them is not easy.
Their first visit is to a three-bed house in Harlow Essex, which costs £500 a month.
The pad is owned by professional cleaner Kate, who has swapped council houses 10 times, and appears to be doing well with former Essex boy Dave.
However, Fran worries that the third bedroom is too small.
Looking around the room, which is currently an office, she says, “It’s quite small, isn’t it.
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“I like it, the third bedroom is very small.”
Their next hope is 120 miles up the coast in Plymouth, but this house is certainly not a hit with Fran, who calls it “very real estate advice”.
Things go from bad to worse when current tenant Kerrie takes them out to the garden and the couple hears a nearby house blaring music.
At this point, Fran is overwhelmed by the experience of house hunting and hopes that their third property will be this one.
Bursting into tears, she said, “I feel like crying.”
This is a spacious three bedroom in Langport, Somerset, and although it fits the bill, the current tenant is unwilling to swap for Dave and Fran’s house.
Fran tells the tenant, “I really like the house and the garden, the garden is absolutely huge, the house is also big downstairs.”
The couple’s only option is to find another home and create a “multiswap” which is like a property ladder for home swapping.
Fran says, “I think we’ll get to a point and then break up and rent privately.”
Tenants of a communal house can transfer their house to another rented communal property, if the other person agrees.
The HomeSwap program, officially Mutual Exchange, is now called HomeSwap Direct and was introduced by Grant Shapps in 2011.
Council House Swap is Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 5